I Moved

As in, apartments.  This was a really big deal for me and I am still in a little bit of shock.  Every memory, every dashed hope for the future, every good time came rushing back at me as I packed up my things and took my “last” walks through the neighbourhood.

My new place is literally a 10 minute drive from the old.  So really not such a big distance physically.

Over and over again, though, I am contending with the panicked thought that “what if he needs me?  He won’t know where I am.”  Logically, I know that doesn’t make sense.  We are broken up, he doesn’t need to find me.  If he does, he has many other contact routes.  But I can’t help mourn that feeling of looking down from my window and seeing him about to cross the street.  Then the sound of the buzzer ringing and knowing he’s on his way up.I really miss him.  Most of the time I know that it is my rose-coloured glasses doing the missing.  That I would not, could not go back to how it was.  But there were a lot of good times too and I often just wish I could feel his arms around me.  I keep reading the “missed connections” section of craigslist and it reminds me that there are lots of people in this state of longing.  I can never decide if that is comforting or just really sad.

He told me before we broke up that if we did, we could never go back because he couldn’t get over the time apart.  That fear kept me in for far too long.  That fear is also what keeps me from actually making any contact.  It hurts knowing he’s out there somewhere, but it would hurt more to try to connect and be turned down.

I know that I am just processing and this too will pass (though even that makes me sad, that intense feelings can fade so completely).  So I will ride this wave and know that change is hard for me.  When it happens, I naturally gravitate back to the familiar, good or bad.

Thank you to Purple Dreamer for your recent post – you reminded me that although there may be things to miss, there are far more to look forward to.  We can allow ourselves to be sad about the lasts while also being open to many new firsts.

With that said, I think I will head out to find myself a new local coffee shop… <3

Ran into my ex

Ugh.  Double ugh.  And many stronger and viler words as well.  It has been almost four months and I was out for a walk on the weekend and there he was, walking the same waterfront route but clearly on a date.  I know he has every right to do so but I swear my heart stopped.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  He didn’t.  He made eye contact and kept going.  I know it was probably the right thing for him to do but it was so awful to watch the man I have loved so deeply walk past me and not even say hello.

I stopped and sat down and I didn’t get up for almost an hour because I didn’t trust my legs would hold me, feeling simultaneously terrified he’d walk back the other way and terrified he wouldn’t (he didn’t).  It was a surge of emotion that rocked me.  I know I’m sounding dramatic, but hey, this is my blog so I can!

Lost love is brutal.

I am picking myself up and I will go on and recover (in so many ways) but I am not there yet.  So my “win” for today is simply allowing myself to feel the grief and the loss.

Whew!

I made it through New Year’s Eve… and I didn’t call him and he didn’t call me.  It hurts like hell and it also deserves a HUGE place on my accomplishment list.  It’s good to acknowledge the positive aspect of that step in order to keep myself moving forward.

And… I made a cake for my mom.  I licked the bowl. <3

Fresh Air

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I feel I am a cliche in stopping for so long and then shyly creeping back, but here I am.

It’s been quite the few months… an amazing vacation to Europe, a desperate try at reconciliation with my ex, a new business venture, and the ultimate break-up of the relationship (no contact for over a month – crazy!).  Lots of ups and downs.  The break-up has hit me hard (you’d think this time would be easier, but it’s not.  More familiar, yes.  But not less painful).  The new career activity is exciting and terrifying and exhilirating and overwhelming all at once.

Then there is the eating disorder.

I’m both embarrassed and proud in that respect.  Embarrassed that it is still a very active issue.  Proud that since the break-up I have actively devoted time and energy to recovery (the relationship would always pull off that attention).

The busy-ness of life means I am choosing to spend much of my time in areas of my life beyond this site.  However, my therapist has been encouraging me to resume celebrating the wins in my recovery journey.  I decided the place for me to do that is here.

I plan to use this space to record my little wins and my big wins. I have lots of places and people that help me to process the challenges and this will be my place to acknowledge the successes.

 

(Bitter)Sweet

I just finished my last weekend class of this degree!  I feel simultaneously relieved and also quite sad.  Though I often felt somewhat on the periphery, I have incredible respect and love for the beautiful souls I have had the privilege to study with.  These are my people.  It’s rare to find that.

It’s funny how we can work so hard to achieve a goal and look so forward to getting there, and then wake up and see that it truly is the journey that matters.

Okay, that’s not true.  The outcome is pretty damn important too!  Yet it is the journey that adds to the richness of the accomplishment.

Moving forward, I feel some regret that I always kept myself slightly removed and yet I acknowledge that is part of who I am and that is okay too.  I stretched myself throughout this process and I am proud of that – I choose to place my attention on that aspect.  Was I always able to partake fully?  No.  Did I manage to push some previously inflexible boundaries and to respect yet others?  Yes.

I choose to focus on how my education has helped me to grow and how beautiful an experience I have had.  I was lucky enough to spend many many hours over the past three years discussing topics that make my soul smile.  I have engaged in introspection and reflections that have broadened my world view and allowed me to see the validity of other perspectives.  I have learned to apply empathy and compassion to all people, not just the ones for whom I feel affinity.

I have not just learned the “skills” of counseling.  Even more amazing (to me), I have internalized the essence of counselling into who I am.  I will forever approach life with this new lens.  This is still somewhat startling and wonderful to me.

I am changed.  Thank you classmates, thank you profs, thank you God.

Thank you self.

I like me better now.

Revolving Door

I feel uninspired to write here.  I get so much love and inspiration from all your comments and yet my life seems to sometimes be a revolving door of the same experience.  I feel sheepish as I think of you out there reading about the SAME boyfriend, the SAME doubts, the SAME self sabotage.

Interesting choice of words, isn’t it?

I feel like I was just about done and ready to step into the next phase of my life.  And I even sent him an email indicating that (which was a big step for me). He wanted a goodbye hug and I said yes.  Now he’s in my life and in my mind again and my world has turned upside down.

I know if I saw what I was writing, I would be shaking my head saying “girl, do you really think he’s changed?”.  But when it’s me, and it’s him, it is so much foggier.  He’s painting me a picture of a life I’ve always wanted and I know, I need to check within and wonder if that is just a dream that I am clinging to.

His arguments, his reasons all sound so logical.  The reasons why certain things have to be certain ways.  He’s got issues.  But I’ve got issues so how can I judge him for that?  My girlfriend used the words “emotional abuse”.  I feel squeamish even considering the term even though some things fit.  Or they do when I am alone, or when I am with her, but when he is there in front of me?  He pours out love and he is the man I know so well.  The man who knows me so well.

He is trying to show me he has changed.  He went to a doctor appointment with me (new health issues lately that I am contending with – advice readers?  never get an eating disorder) and it was not a particularly stressful appointment but it was so nice to have someone go with me.  I loved that.

And he’s giving me space to reflect.  Ridiculously, even as I am torturing myself with the indecision myself, I am so scared that he will decide in the interim that he has his changed his mind.  I fear that the chase is the motivation, not the catch (even if he is unaware of that himself).

People keep advising me to trust myself and listen to the voice within.  The problem with eating disorders (or maybe it’s just me?!) is that I don’t trust that voice.  After all, it tells me opposite things from one minute to the next.  And it tells me things to keep me alone with my eating disorder too (“you don’t need/want him… that would interfere with your food structure and rules.  too much work”).

I just want solid ground beneath me and once again my world has started to shake.  I just don’t know if he’s the one I can hold on to in order to find stability.

Hmm, I guess I had more to say than I thought.

Frazzled

My life feels discombobulated right now for so many reasons…

… Dealing with feelings regarding my ex and the dissolution of that relationship.

 

… Frustration in dealing with my diabetes and the inconsistent ups and downs.

 

… A distressing medical appointment that pointed to dismal prospects for recovery

 

… Lots to do for my final semester at school

 

… Anxiety about my qualifying exam for counselling

 

… Unfamiliarity in my return to work

 

… Internal pressure to complete creative works along with academic ones

 

… Summer events on the go

 

… Missing my family and wishing we all lived closer

 

… Feeling like I do too much and too little all at the same time

 

… Uncertain of so much in myself and my life.

 

 

Help!

I think I am unconsciously (and very unhealthily) addicted to the drama that comes from my ex.  I need you, dear readers, to help me to make smart choices.  Or maybe I just need to commit it to the screen so that my maladaptive behaviour can be clearer to me.

I saw him once recently.  A random meeting on a street corner that jolted me to the core.  We didn’t stop and talk but I watched him walk away.  He didn’t turn around and it broke my heart all over again, even secure in the knowledge that we were not good for one another.  Within the bad, there was an awful lot of good too and that was what came flooding back in that moment.  I sent him a quick text and didn’t hear back for five days (hmm, does that seem familiar?  why yes, yes it does).

Eventually he did respond and asked to meet again.  This was going into a very stressful week for me, finishing my practicum, starting new classes and re-starting work again after being off for a very long time.  I luckily had the presence of mind to say no and to recognize that I was too stressed to make good decisions.  But I may have sent him an “I love you” text.  Maybe.  Sigh.  Yeah, I did that.

Then, just now, another note from him asking if maybe we could meet now.  I responded “no” again but I so desperately want to say yes.  I want to see him, to talk to him, to find out how he is and what is happening in his life.  I am hanging on to a pitiful and likely self-destructive hope.

He hasn’t replied to my refusal and I am in knots about that.  Why is it so hard for me to let go?  Am I that weak?  Am I one of those dreaded drama queens who secretly thrives off of her self-made woes?

The reaction to hearing from him is visceral.  The idea of actually cutting all ties makes me physically feel sick.  As I said, I need help.  I want to cry.  I think I’ll just go do that.

 

Dating

I am SO not ready and yet I found myself posting a profile on an online dating site yesterday.

I’m sure anyone who knows me well would be a little completely horrified, as I am clearly still figuring out who I am and how to move on past my recent breakup.  But I went ahead and did it anyway and now I am slightly completely terrified.

I’m terrified he will see it and misunderstand.  I’m terrified that my description was too raw. I’m terrified that I will see he is doing the same thing.  I’m terrified that someone will contact me and want to meet.  I’m terrified that no one will.

Why am I doing this?  It’s a good question.  I guess I am aware that I want to share my life with somebody.  I want to be known.  And right now I am in extreme danger of simply reaching backward to my ex in order to fill that void.  Which would be a mistake for both of us.  We each have proven that we need to take care of ourselves, for ourselves, before any kind of relationship with anyone is possible.  I miss him, though, and I miss being part of a couple.  I miss the familiarity and the closeness and the good times.  Everywhere I go, I see memories of us.

So now you’re thinking, okay, if that’s the case, my presence on a dating website still sounds wonky.  As I said, the current risk of relationship relapse is at a major high.

Let me say that I have no intention of actually pursuing anything that comes my way out of this endeavour.  This is about me knowing that I am worth investing the time in.  It’s about acknowledging what I want for my future.  It’s about figuring out what I would write in my profile b/c that helped me to clarify what is important to me.  It’s about readying myself to one day make new memories.  It’s about putting the feeler out because doing so at least feels like facing forward even if I am not yet prepared to actually move from my position.

Sometimes merely looking in the direction you want to go is progress.

Hidden strength

I submitted the story below for a publication, so far no response, but I wanted to put it out there for this space too.  It’s a little longer than my normal posts and it encapsulates some of my recent experiences…

I have struggled my whole life with seeing myself as others see me.  Like many people, I view myself through distorted lens, and I don’t mean rose coloured glasses.  Where others see confidence, I feel fear.  Where others see wisdom, I feel ignorance.  Where others see kindness, I feel placation.

Where others see strength, I feel weakness.

Right now I am striving to overcome the breakup of a long and often volatile romance.  We are two people who believe in love and therefore kept trying even when all signs kept pointing to the futility of it all.  Conceding that we are simply not going to make it has been the most painful experience of my life.  The future that I had anticipated will never come to pass.  The memories we have shared feel heavy and ripe in my mind.  Each day stretches long and the nights even longer still.  Even worse is knowing that we are both experiencing this pain alone.  Though we are fundamentally flawed as a couple, I still long to feel his arms around me comforting me and I want to shield him from this torture as well.  But I can’t.

I am learning now to draw upon every resource I have in order to cope with this loss.  I am learning that the strength others see comes from reaching out and opening up.  It is the opposite of my instinctual view of a strong person as one who is solid, and sure.  Someone who stands tall and resolute in any situation with little emotions.  It turns out, that is not strength.  I am learning that real strength shows itself in nuance.

Strength is crying.  Not just quiet trickling tears but full body, snotty nosed, gasping for breath, shuddering and shaking tears.  Now that is a full body workout.  I have done this alone and, requiring even greater strength, in the presence of my sister.  One minute I felt I was doing fine, sitting beside her on a January evening watching The Sound of Music.  Amidst the low lighting and winter chill, my mind started down the path of all the things I may never know about my old love.  I found myself mourning all the moments that would never be.  Next thing I knew, the water glass was trembling in my hand.  I stood too quickly and the magazine I had open clattered to the floor as the emotion flooded over me.  It took strength to let myself be held in a tight embrace by my sister and to trust her words that the panic would pass.  And it did.

Strength is calling a friend on a Friday night.  That was our standard date night and the first few weekends alone were scary and dark.  I wanted to shut down and hide away.  Instead I reached out to my kind and caring friend who knew the pain.  She was willing to get dressed up and head to local glitzy venue to listen to music and have a girly drink with me.  She regaled me with stories and accepted gracefully that I was only half listening.  Her companionship, alongside the smooth vocals melding with the clinking of glasses, momentarily took me outside of my head and offered some relief.  I needed the strength to need her in order for her to be there for me in that moment.

Strength is receiving a text or a phone call and not jumping right back into the old patterns.  When I am feeling so alone and my memory is fooling me into recalling only the happy times, those messages are compelling.  That jolt of energy in seeing his name on my call display is easily mistaken for evidence that there is hope.  When I have been feeling this persistent darkness and dullness, any emotion can be taken to be a good thing.  It takes strength to know that sometimes the familiar may beckon alluringly but that does not mean that it is the right choice to make.  It does not erase the ways in which we didn’t work for so long.  As I hold my phone tightly in my palm, it takes all I have to resist responding to that blue bubble of words.

Strength is acknowledging that this relationship did not exist in black and white.  Though I have often wished that there was some surety, some sign, it was like all things in life.  Infinite shades of grey.  And blue.  And red.  And green…  It is hard to know that I can hold two emotions at once; I can love him and know that we don’t work.  I can feel compassion for his suffering and feel angry at him for past decisions.  I can have good memories and also have knowledge of how I held back on being me in the midst of those happy times.  Those can all be true at the same time.  Which is utterly confusing, and yet the awareness of this plurality allows the inevitable swings to subside without me acting on a momentary feeling.

Strength is leaning into my parents.  When I feel the weight of it all pressing down on me, I can call them.  My intellect scolds me that I am too old to still be burdening them with my problems and needing them so much.  Yet my emotional side knows that will never be true.  My mom’s voice on the end of the line is a balm when I can’t keep up the charade of “okay”.  The unending affirmation of my worthiness begins to envelop me.  As I pace my studio apartment, bouncing from the cool tile of the kitchen to the beveled windows in the living room, my fathers supportive humour brings me down to earth.  That white plastic earpiece represents an enduring cord of strength in my life.

Strength is knowing that it’s okay to not be okay.  This one is hard for me.  I have guilt issues stemming way back and I want to be able to finally tell my loved ones that I am okay because I know that is what they want for me.  I’m not there yet, however.  Yet.  While I don’t plan on wallowing indefinitely, this is a painful and unpleasant life transition.  To deny that would be to limit my human experience.  If I am to feel the whole spectrum of what life offers, that means sometimes having joy, and sometimes sorrow.  Strength is knowing that it’s okay to feel it all; in fact, it is essential to feel it authentically and fully if there is to be growth and healing.

The healing is happening, though slower than I would hope. I recognize the strength in me largely because those I love keep pointing it out and modelling their own strength.  That strength is emerging with help of the community of love that surrounds me.  Fittingly, it is the strength I glean from others that allows me to be strong myself.